Emilia Romagna Slow | Dante’s walk
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“A journey through history and the natural world that inspired one of the fathers of Italy’s language and culture, through age-old castles, magical landscapes and peaceful hermitages where you can still find an intimate tranquillity”.
Dante’s Walk is a loop of about 235 miles in 20 stages retracing the route that Dante Alighieri is thought to have taken into exile from Florence in the early 14th century. It runs between Tuscany and Romagna along the ancient paths beaten by the Romans and Etruscans.
The walk begins at Dante’s tomb in Ravenna and finishes at the Dante’s House Museum in Florence, taking in many of the places where the poet spent time in exile and which he described in many passages of the Divine Comedy. According to historians, Dante was in the Casentino area between 1302 and 1313, often moving house depending on the political lie of the land at the time, but he was certainly a guest in the properties and castles of the Counts of Guidi. Dante’s Walk is therefore a cultural, artistic, historical, philosophical and spiritual journey between the old cities of Florence and Ravenna, through the places where the great poet spent much of his life.
These places – the rolling landscapes of Romagna, the Guidi castles, the magical corners of the Casentinesi forests and the green Tuscan hills – emerge in the pages of Divine Comedy. And they are still there for wayfarers on Dante’s Walk to discover.
Dante’s Walk is a great route through some of Italy’s most beautiful medieval villages and ancient Christian hermitages. On the way, you’re sure to meet plenty of typically friendly, straightforward Romagna folk and lots of proud, cheerful, straight-talking Tuscans.
Like many hikes, Dante’s Walk is liberally sprinkled with places to eat, drink and sleep; show your Wayfarer’s Credential for a discount. Demand is high, and supply is limited, so book well in advance.
Hamlets along the Way
Passing as it does through a picturesque area strewn with medieval castles and villages, Dante’s Walk takes in many of Italy’s loveliest and best-known little towns.
Take the chance to visit beautiful Brisighella, Portico di Romagna and San Benedetto in Alpe, set in a delightful stretch of country threaded by rivers and dotted with waterfalls offering a blissfully refreshing summer dip. As you head down towards the plain, pop into Dovadola, an old town belonging to the Guidi family where Dante stayed for a few months.
Services and practical information
It’s circular so you can start Dante’s Walk from any town along the route, and there’s always a bus home for you at the end.
The 235-mile route has 20 stages and is well signposted throughout. The official website has all the information you need about where to break your journey and how to get the guide map and the Credential, which entitles you to a special discount on your overnight accommodation.
The Walk is considered easy, but it lasts several days, so do bring suitable equipment.
Italian regions traversed: Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany
Stages: the Emilia-Romagna section of the route is 128 miles long.
Outward stages towards Florence
Stage 1 | Ravenna – Ponte Vico (11.8 miles)
Stage 2 | Ponte Vico – Oriolo dei Fichi (11.6 miles)
Stage 3 | Oriolo dei Fichi – Brisighella (10.7 miles)
Stage 4 | Brisighella – Gamberaldi (14.5 miles)
Stage 5 | Gamberaldi – Marradi (6.2 miles)
Stage 6 | Marradi – San Benedetto in Alpe (14.3 miles)
Stages back towards Ravenna
Stage 1 | Premilcuore – Portico di Romagna (6 miles)
Stage 2 | Portico – Dovadola (16.6 miles)
Stage 3 | Dovadola – Forlì (14 miles)
Stage 4 | Forlì – Ponte Vico (11.2 miles)
Stage 5 | Ponte Vico – Ravenna (11.8 miles)
Length: 245 miles Ravenna – Firenze – Ravenna
Difficulty: The route isn’t particularly difficult; some stages can be done by mountain bike or even by horseback. The walk is not accessible to people with disabilities.
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